Effectiveness of incentives offered by mobile phone app to encourage cycling: A long‐term study

Bingyuan Huang*, Tom Thomas, Benjamin Groenewolt, Yorick Claasen, Eric Berkum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
240 Downloads (Pure)


Reduction of car use is one of the most effective ways to tackle congestion-related problems. Using positive incentives to stimulate bicycle use is one possibility to reduce car use. Cycling is a sustainable transport mode that uses little space and is healthy. There is evidence that positive incentives may be more effective than punishing travellers for undesirable behaviour, and the emergence of mobile applications for delivering interventions has opened up new opportunities for influencing travellers. So far, few studies have focused on exploring the effectiveness of positive incentives on long-term behavioural change. We used the SMART app to deliver positive incentives to more than 6000 travellers in the Dutch region of Twente. The app automatically tracks users and provides incentives such as challenges with rewards, feedback, and messages. This study covers the period from March 2017 to June 2018, in which more than 1000 SMART users participated in monthly challenges. We evaluated the effects of the challenges and rewards and found that the challenges did encourage cycling and reduced car use in the short term. There is also some evidence for behavioural change over a longer time period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-422
Number of pages17
JournalIET Intelligent Transport Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


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